Monday, October 27, 2008

Gold Sounds at CMJ: Part 1

So CMJ was this past week, and it was an absolute blast. While seeing 30 live performances, I made sure to write about and take pictures of the various artists I saw throughout the week. With hundreds of bands performing across tons of venues, there were sure to be some surprises and some duds, and indeed there were. With that said, here's the first part of my CMJ coverage, with the best performances preceded by an asterisk.

Tuesday night, The Annex and Don Pedro's: I started my night at The Annex, located in the Lower East Side (the majority of venues in NYC seem to be there). Out of all the venues I went to, I would have to say that this was, by far, the worst. The sound was totally out of whack for all two performances I saw and the audience space was very, very cramped.

Chairlift @ The Annex: Chairlift is a three-piece Brooklyn-based band who play indie pop/rock consisting of synth/guitar/drums. Yes, another one of those. Unfortunately, this band did not have any memorable songs at all; they were all similar in tempo and sound. Their stage presence was pretty static and between songs they only asked for the sound to be fixed. Basically, they took themselves way too seriously and that took all the fun out of their show.

Violens @ The Annex: Violens were one of the bands I really wanted to see at CMJ this year. They've yet to release a full-length, but the songs they have released so far sound great. They sound like The Doors, but with more pleasant vocal harmonies (see: "Violent Sensation Descends"). However, the band suffered a lot of problems during their set, included the aforementioned sound problems and a blown-out amp halfway through their set. As a result, their songs sounded much different than intended and I ended up not enjoying their set at all either. Unlike Chairlift, however, they took the sound woes more in stride and at least tried to make the best of it.

*So Many Dynamos @ Don Pedro's: This show was actually not a CMJ show, but I knew it was going on near where I was staying in Brooklyn and since I got to the Bowery Ballroom for Friendly Fires and Lykke Li way too late, I decided to stop by Don Pedro's on my way back home to check them out. I'm sure glad I did, because Don Pedro's was a much better venue than The Annex and So Many Dynamos put on one of the best shows of the week. Playing half old and half new songs, the dance-rock band were tight the whole way through and even incorporated some interesting transitions; the whole band yelling the lyrics to the outro of "In Every Direction" after the song ended and then going straight into "Progress" was my favorite moment of the show. More on So Many Dynamos to come in future CMJ coverage.

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